RiverLake Greenway, the City's first bike boulevard is now open
The RiverLake Greenway, a bike thoroughfare that includes Minneapolis’ first bike boulevard, is now open. The 4.5-mile project – so named because it runs generally from Lake Harriet to the Mississippi River – uses neighborhood streets as a biking environment to create a route geared for cyclists of all skill levels.
The community-driven project was initiated by residents in the mid 1990s. The goal was to create a green space and an alternative transportation route within the existing right-of-way between the Midtown Greenway and Minnehaha Creek. The result is an east-west bicycle and pedestrian route that runs along 40th Street East from Kings Highway 30th Avenue South and on 42nd Street East from 30th Avenue South to West River Parkway, with additional connections along 30th Avenue South and Nokomis Avenue.
Street enhancements along the greenway put the priority on bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The features include:
- Minneapolis’ first bike boulevard. Bicycle boulevards exist in a number of cities across the country. Usually located on existing residential streets, bike boulevards incorporate several enhancements that make them good routes for bicycling, while also discouraging automobiles from using them as a throughway:
- Medians at major intersections so cars must turn and bicyclists and pedestrians can continue straight ahead.
- Curb extensions to make street crossings safer and easier.
- Pedestrian "refuge islands" to aid street crossings.
- Fewer stop signs so that bicycles don’t have to stop at every corner.
- Large "bike boulevard" pavement markings.
- New bike lanes along 42nd Street East, from Nokomis Avenue to Minnehaha Avenue.
- Sharrows, or shared use lanes, along 42nd Street East, from Minnehaha Avenue to West River Parkway. This street is too narrow for conventional bike lanes, so the sharrow indicates where bicyclists should ride to avoid opening doors of parked vehicles.
- Bump-outs of intersection corners that reduce the length of crosswalks.
The RiverLake Greenway was paid for largely through U.S. Transportation Enhancement funding and U.S. Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot funds. For more information including a map of the greenway, go to RiverLake Greenway website.
Published Jun. 13, 2011